Mono Compatibility

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#1
Hi guys,

I've been struggling with my mixes to get some good mono compatible tracks. I wanted to ask you how do you approach the subject / techniques used / etc.

For example, some of my pads sound super weird when in mono due to phase cancelation issues (checked on the PAZ analyzer) - how do I solve this to get them mono compatible?

Cheers
 

TinnitusD&B

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#2
Im confused as I always would associate a pad with creating atmosphere and filling out a track therefor they would be in stereo. Any pad I have used or made has always been in stereo. What pads are you using?
 
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#3
I'm talking about when I check for mono compatibility... I always have a Voxengo MSED on my master track so I can check the output in mono.

You're right about pads being stereo, but some I've used when checked on mono have super weird phasing which gives them a different character.
 

TinnitusD&B

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#4
But what pads are you checking in mono??? Homemade ones or pre recorded ones?

If its a pre made one it may have been split on to two channels with each channel panned and with different processing on (stereo spreaders, stereo delays etc) so if mono'd will have lots of phasing issues.

Some may be recorded in stereo but have no multi channel processing and stereo widening etc so shouldn't show any phasing issues.

My main point of confusion is why a pad would need to be checked in mono I suppose?
 

IV4

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#5
But what pads are you checking in mono??? Homemade ones or pre recorded ones?

If its a pre made one it may have been split on to two channels with each channel panned and with different processing on (stereo spreaders, stereo delays etc) so if mono'd will have lots of phasing issues.

Some may be recorded in stereo but have no multi channel processing and stereo widening etc so shouldn't show any phasing issues.

My main point of confusion is why a pad would need to be checked in mono I suppose?
I think there is a difference between mono-compatible and mono. For example a track @miszt just mixed for me, I struggled and never really learned how to make things mono-compatible. On my monitors the original track sounds big and wide, but if I use stereo imaging to make it mono it sounds fucked. On a large mono-system the original track sounds weird and out of place.
However, when Miszt mixed it the track sound good both in stereo and mono systems. But it will still sound weird if I use stereo imaging to make it mono. My point is I have no idea whats going on, and am struggling to find the answers.
 
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#6
Clubs sound systems are in mono, so you have to check if you good looking stereo track still is as good looking in mono. My main problem occurs with some pads (it happened to me with a couple of absynth presets) that have very nasty phasing when heard in mono
 
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#7
Clubs sound systems are in mono, so you have to check if you good looking stereo track still is as good looking in mono. My main problem occurs with some pads (it happened to me with a couple of absynth presets) that have very nasty phasing when heard in mono
Yes, I'm talking about mono compatibility...
 

TinnitusD&B

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#8
I think there is a difference between mono-compatible and mono. For example a track @miszt just mixed for me, I struggled and never really learned how to make things mono-compatible. On my monitors the original track sounds big and wide, but if I use stereo imaging to make it mono it sounds fucked. On a large mono-system the original track sounds weird and out of place.
However, when Miszt mixed it the track sound good both in stereo and mono systems. But it will still sound weird if I use stereo imaging to make it mono. My point is I have no idea whats going on, and am struggling to find the answers.
Ahhh thanks for clearing that up.
 

Solace

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#9
Wait wat? I had no idea of any of this...

I'm not even checking my final mixdowns in mono.. I probably should be doing that then.
 

miszt

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#11
the most common problem I come across with tracks, is that everything in the stereo field vanishes/drop off when played in mono - this always comes down to the mix, ie central elements are simply to loud

putting a stereo to mono convertor on your master buss is a useful tool, spend some time mixing in mono and very very very quiet, and when you switch back to stereo, the mix should be nicely balanced, and will only need tweeks in panning etc


there is one other rare issue that comes up, phase cancellations, this happens when people allow low freqz in the stereo/SIDE, using a Mid-Side EQ on the master buss (or more careful high passing of sounds in the mix), you can high-pass the SIDE @ 90~100hz, and this resolves that problem completely
 

Sammy Dexcell

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#12
Clubs sound systems are in mono, so you have to check if you good looking stereo track still is as good looking in mono. My main problem occurs with some pads (it happened to me with a couple of absynth presets) that have very nasty phasing when heard in mono
Incoming rant o_O:

This seems to come up an awful lot. I think many producers focus on this and really unnecessarily 'clean' up their tracks which actually makes them sound really weird.

You need to focus on being able to play your tracks on everything from the headphones, monitors, your car, a shitty stereo etc and it still representing what it 'should' sound like.

I used to create/mixdown for years on some crappy ipod headphones. Mainly using analysers and referencing other tracks. Ultimately the tunes sounded fucked. Its do-able, but ideally you need a decent pair of headphones/monitors which accurately represent what is playing. This ensure's its playability everywhere or atleast on a majority of different speakers.

When you start allocating places in the mixdown for certain things in certain frequencies thats when you can care about space and mono/stereo etc.
I.e If i have a pad which is usually 99% of the time in stereo i will allocate it a place in the mix and cut the subby low end. (thats if any lows are playing at the time)
Usually in an intro its pads and effects so there is no sub yet, in that case i'd keep the shitty lows in and attach a mid-eq to mono everything under a certain frequency. I will do that on individual things and on the master when it comes to finishing the track.
Also while im talking about this, take a snare for instance, if you have two conflicting snares trying to allocate the same (rough) frequencies, reverse the polarity of one of them and it should bind them together, if you get this wrong it will cause phase issues if you get it right they will sound like one fat punchy snare.
Read up on phasing and cancellation as it plays a huge part in making music. Sidechaining is a great tool but it gives room for mistakes. In a way you should be able to have a kick n bass mold into one without sidechaining. Use the the correct choice of sample get it in the right key alignment of the waves to avoid clashing or phasing then use sidechain to give it room/ make it more prominent.

9/10 if you are struggling for an overall sound its because something in the early stages of creating is muddying up the frequencies or taking up too much space in the stereo etc. You're not creating a film sound scape so panning and spreading or mono'ing things shouldnt be over done and in the same sense it should be controlled.

I can never answer these things in a paragraph i always end up with a bloody essay! :-/
 

miszt

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#13
very true, allot of people do seem to hard pan everything, but it doesn't need that much at all, drums for eg, I just nudge hats and other hits no more than ~5% either direction, more than enough to make a drum kit sound big and more alive, but still helps keep it central, you definitely don't want big pads competing with drums in the stereo field

I rarely push anything else more than 15%, esp not big wide band sounds, unless you balance it out on the other side with another sound, it doesn't sound good

contrast in the mix is the most important aspect imo, having a nice stereo atmospheric sound scape (properly mixed, ie not to loud), with a big central drum kit and bass line, produces a more interesting sound scape than a huge stereo lead competing with a wide stereo drum kit
 

Solace

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#14
This is all very helpfull! Thanks guys!

All the things said sound so logical... A few of these things I already do (only cutting low end when it's actually needed, not panning to hard,..), but a few things I never even thought about, so thank you for them useful tips!
 
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